who’s helping me not waste money?

this weekend, we took our six-year old to a big-box toy store to spend some gift certificates that he had gotten for his birthday.  he wanted a skateboard.  i liked the idea of having a kid that can ride a skateboard so we took a trip to toys ‘r us to spend his money.

as soon as we walked in the store, his eyes got really big and started wandering.  i had hoped to make a beeline for the sports section, but immediately realized that this shopping trip was not going to happen as i envisioned.  as we were walking (i mean, as i was pulling him) my son quickly noticed an aisle with dinosaurs and spotted a pop-up tent that was designed to look like a cave.  on the package was a young boy smiling from ear to ear while playing with 15-20 dinosaurs around the cave.  at that moment, my son decided that he no longer wanted a skateboard, he wanted a pop-up tent that looked like a dinosaur cave.

as the father, i had to step in.  i’m smart enough to realize that this toy would get played with once or twice and never again – if it didn’t break right away, he would have quickly realized it wasn’t really that exciting (the dinosaurs weren’t even included).  through some heavy persuasion techniques, i talked him out of the dinosaur cave and back to his original intent of a skateboard (that experience looks much better on paper than it did in the store, if you know what i mean).

i’m glad i was there to play the father-role and save my son from wasting his birthday money on that unwise purchase.  i was above the situation enough that i knew, in the long run, he would find more enjoyment in a skateboard than a pretend dinosaur cave. 

but this post isn’t about him, it’s about me… it’s about us.

it got me thinking… what about me?  who do i have in my life that keeps me from making foolish decisions with my money?  sure, i have more life experience and wisdom than my son which helps give me some discretion.  but as i look around my house at all the things that seemed like a good purchase at the time, i can’t help but wonder if my house (and bank account) would look different if i had had somebody looking over my shoulder… playing the daddy-role… keeping me from wasteful spending.

related posts:

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

Follow on TwitterLike on Facebook


  1. says

    Hi, I came from ZenHabits :) and I immediately subscribe to your blog after I saw this post

    It does make me wonder the same question, who is pulling me out of my dinosaur cave with all the credit card persuading us to buy, the discounts and also the recently received paycheck, and the desire to give rewards to self for a month of hardship (not so much).

    I guess, all I can do is just to put more red tape to my shopping procedure, such as shopping list, approval signature etc :)

    • di says

      I’ve been reminding my husband for 10 years, but he still lives beyond his means and I live without. I’m upset with his debt, because it’s now my debt as well.

      What does this say about marriage? Just live together in a state that does not recognize common law marriage?

      Always get a prenuptial agreement.

  2. Christy says

    See, at our house, a tent is fabulous value. My kids got a tent as preschoolers that at 12 and 8, they still play with regularly in our basement. They filled it up with pillows and play everything from spaceship to pirate ship to camping. I like things that encourage them to use their imagination. Depends on the kids, I guess. :)

    Hope your little guy enjoys the skateboard. Hope you bought a helment and kneepads!

    • Kate says

      (As a longtime reader, re-reading the archives for inspiration, I felt I had to add my comment this time around.)

      For Christy:
      Proof-reading is a virtue,
      A virtue is a grace,
      And Grace is a little girl
      Who didn’t wash her face.

      That’s not my poem, although I wish I could claim it was. Unfortunately, I can’t recall title of the book that held this and many other children’s rhymes in it.. In the original, it was, “Patience is a virtue…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *